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13thDuke

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Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future [VINYL]
Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future [VINYL]
Price: £17.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK - but it's not Underworld, 14 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have all Underworld's previous albums, having bought each and every one on the day of it's release (I guess that ages me somewhat!). For me, this is the weakest of their work - but is a weak Underworld album worth purchasing?

So what's my problem with this album? Let's start with Side A... Well, it seems a little flat, a little devoid of the textures and rhythms that Underworld are so rightly famous for. I did wonder if Darren Emerson was back, as it's more techno-influenced than previous recent work! The stand out song for my money is 'Low Burn', which starts with a nice ambience, before a beat kicks in and the track builds to a series of textures and rhythms. It's more instrumental too. Contrast that with 'I Exhale' which has a dull, monotonous rhythm and 'If Rah' seems to start, seems to build, but never really get into it's stride fully. On these tracks, rather than Karl Hyde's lyrics being amusing, or interesting, I find them rambling and tedious. This may be why I prefer 'Low Burn'.

Side B starts with the plinking of 'Santiago Cuatro' before launching into 'Motorhom'e with it's repeated lyric that seems to promise something... but not deliver anything of substance. This side is more musical than Side A, and begins to reach for what Underworld can do... but doesn't quite make it. For me, this typifies the album. Doesn't quite make it in terms of being what I want Underworld albums to be - namely more interesting, hook-laden, textured.

On first listen all the way through, I was left disappointed. On the second and third, I felt the same. It's only after listening a number of times more than that I've started to accept that it is what it is - it won't get any better. Having said that, if you like Underworld and electronic, techno-inspired music you may like this. BTW, if you hated the last album 'Barking', you are probably going to prefer this.

I guess I was after the rhythms and builds of 'dubnobasswithmyheadman', or the aggression of 'Beaucoup Fish' or even the anthemic, more house/pop feel on the recent 'Barking'. Instead it's a solid bit of electronic music rather than something that blows my socks off.


Late Night Tales presents Sasha: Scene Delete [Triple Vinyl]
Late Night Tales presents Sasha: Scene Delete [Triple Vinyl]
Price: £16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond expectations, 14 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a surprising album from the legendary DJ and his collaborators (David Gardner and ThermalBear), and certainly not something you'd associate with him on first listening. It's wonderfully low-fi in places, and down-tempo, and very chilled listening. Definitely not 'four to the floor' dance anthems!

I've probably played it 8-10 times all the way through and it's definitely a grower. On first listening I was a bit 'meh', but after the second and third time I was hooked. I love tracks like 'View2' with it's relaxed beat and warm pads building to a zenith and 'Bring on the Night-time' which was a collaboration with Nigel Goodrich's (Radiohead producer) band Ultraísta. Some tracks just seem to stop abruptly, others fade into sounds of washing seashores or a soft buzzing. There's eastern buddhist chimes, soft melodies and vibrant timbre that all create an atmosphere blending together to form a cohesive stream of consciousness.

The vinyl in nice and heavy and plays beautifully well - it's a good quality pressing. A WORD OF WARNING - I thought my pressing was terrible on the first track 'Channel Deq' because there is a low resonance 'timbre' and some crackling. Don't panic - this is meant to be there - I've listened to the downloads! It has also cleaned up considerably with my new and improved speakers (Focal Aria 906's) and amp (Rega Elex-R) - but it doesn't impact the rest of the album's listening if you find that first track a horrible mess with your HiFi set up - so persevere through it!

The triple album means you do have to get up a lot to spin and change discs, but the sound is warm and very in-keeping with the low-fi, chilled nature of the music. This is one album I can't think would benefit from being on CD - it suits the warmth of vinyl. All the tracks seem to fit well on each side of the three disks and I wonder if the track order was planned with the vinyl in mind (unlike some albums that cut off mid song where they are blended with the next track that is on the flip side - Orbital-Orbital 2 (Brown Album) [VINYL] - I'm looking at you!). Side B is my favourite, building from the very warm and soft 'Linepulse', through the more increased urgency of 'Time After Time' before finishing with a more beats driven 'Detour'.

The downloads that come with the package are MP3, FLAC or WAV (hurrah for high quality audio downloads for us audiophiles!) and you get the unmixed and mixed versions of the album. I must confess to having only listened to the unmixed version MP3 so far, on my iPod Classic, but the audio quality is very acceptable.

So a great late night listen, with the lights low and a glass of something warm and comforting - or if you are younger than me - a great post-club chill-out. More of this please Sasha!


Love You to Death
Love You to Death
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Pop-tastic!, 14 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Love You to Death (MP3 Download)
Any album given 5 stars by the NME is worth considering - and if that album is 'pop music' - a subject usually sniffed at - then it is definitely worth checking out. I have a wide musical taste and I have some pop in my collection - and this is up there with the best of them. It's a feel good, summer album for playing when you need something bright and breezy.

It's a short album (around 32 minutes) but it packs a lot of pop into those minutes Songs like 'Stop Desire' and 'That Girl' have classic dance music hooks, whereas 'White Knuckles' and '100x' have more of a ballad feel. They are all formulaic, but in a good, classic pop sense

Perfect for drives with the top down, or sitting inside during a British wet summer day dreaming of said drives!


EC Technology 2nd Gen Deluxe 22400mAh 3 USB Output External Battery With LED Flashlight For Smartphones- Black & Red
EC Technology 2nd Gen Deluxe 22400mAh 3 USB Output External Battery With LED Flashlight For Smartphones- Black & Red
Offered by EC Technology UK Store

5.0 out of 5 stars Good gadget for those trips away, 23 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This worked extremely well for us on a trip to the US on a plane with no power sockets. We were able to run my son's iPod for a considerable length of time. On a recent road trip, it ran an iPad for 4 hours from full charge and reduced to only half charge. The charge is retained well whilst in storage - I got it out after 2 months in a drawer and plugged it in and it still had full charge.

Pretty impressed and recommended.


Crosley Cruiser Briefcase Style Three Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable with Built-In Stereo Speakers - Burnt Orange
Crosley Cruiser Briefcase Style Three Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable with Built-In Stereo Speakers - Burnt Orange
Price: £69.00

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor build and sound quality, but cool retro looks, 23 Dec. 2015
Firstly, this isn't going to win any HiFi awards for sounds quality, or any engineering awards for build quality, but if you have a spouse, child or other family member or friend that wants a portable record player with a retro feel, this fits the bill.

Upon opening the box, check all the parts are there and then put it together carefully. It doesn't take long, just follow the instructions - there isn't that much to do. Then plug it in, set the speed on the switch and you are away! I found 12" records played at 45 skipped an awful lot, so I suspect 78s would be worse. However, 7" at 45rpm or 12" at 33rpm were both fine.

Now, audiophiles, look away now - because the sound is pretty thin and tinny. But then, you get what you pay for with HiFi and this record player does not cost a lot of money. I think it rather sounds like the unpowered Walkman speakers I had back in the late 80s, early 90s. And whilst I was saving up for a stereo, that's all I had, and they were fine for my needs. You can plug headphones in, but don't expect sound quality to improve. You can plug external speakers in, but then I doubt many people would do that as it would spoil the portability and looks of this deck.

A WORD OF WARNING: The needle pressure was recorded by What HiFi magazine as being 7g. That is A LOT! My Rega RP3 deck applies a 1.75g weight on the needle. What does that mean? It means you are likely to wear through your records faster. And with the poor quality needle on this player, that will only add to the wear of your vinyl. And if you find the records skipping, and decide to put a 1p coin on the needle to try and stop the skipping it is even worse for your vinyl!

But here's the thing: I bought this for my wife. She doesn't care about any of that. She can't tell the difference in sound between cheap and expensive HiFi and she's not bothered about her records. As she pointed out, she's had cheap record players when she was a kid so they are probably all pretty ruined anyway! She just wants a record player that reminds her of the one she had when she was a kid, one she can take to any room of the house, anytime she wants, with one of her old LPs and just sit and listen to it. And if that's all you care about, this player is just the job!


Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
Price: £8.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album from the Archdukes!, 28 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've read a few reviews of this album in the papers and pretty much every reviewer hated "Tonight". their previous album. I really liked it. I liked all their previous albums. What I find refreshing about Franz Ferdinand is their ability to tweak their style slightly each time they produce a record, yet still have it remain very much "their" sound. They have done the same again with "Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action".

The album opens with a belter - "Right Action" is a classic Franz Ferdinand track; lovely guitar rythmn, great hook and a anthemic chorus. Other typical songs include "Brief Encounters", which talks about the seedy side of life the band like to explore and "Fresh Strawberries" which is proper bonkers! I'd say the style is more in-keeping with their debut album, "Franz Ferdinand", but brings in different elements as their style has evolved. It isn't really like "Tonight", so if you did hate that album, then give this one a go. It's short, but that's OK, I'd rather pay for quality than quantity.

The live album is pretty stonking on CD 2 as well.

So, in conclusion, some would describe this as a 'return to form'. I say the form never left, and it's another cracker from one of my favourite modern bands.


Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Endgame
Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Endgame
by John Wagner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.58

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Epic Sure To Be A classic!, 14 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Following on the from the events in the first book (Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fourth Faction) the events in Mega City One take a decided turn for the worse. Dredd has to call on all his resources to try and prevent the city he loves being completely wiped out.

John Wagner has created an epic Dredd story to rival the other classics, like The Apocalypse War and The Cursed Earth Saga. The artwork includes an array of talented artists all of whom excel in this storyline. The majority of the artwork is handled by Henry Flint, who is one of the finest artists to grace modern comics. Period. Then there is the scratchy style of Leigh Gallagher, the detail of Ben Willsher and the classic style of Colin MacNeil.

The stories aren't all fighting and chaos, what takes it to the next level are the interludes - in particular the story "Tea for Two", where Dredd visits his niece. It adds a distinctly human touch to Old Stoney Face and to the events that are happening around him. The art is handled by Edmund Bagwell and the change is style wonderfully emphasises the change in pace. The eye of the storm, if you like...

You should definitely read the first book before reading this one, and when you have finished them both you will be left breathless and wondering just what on earth can beat that.

Comic book writing and drawing at it's finest...


Drowntown: 1
Drowntown: 1
by Robbie Morrison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dive in to Drowntown, 22 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Drowntown: 1 (Hardcover)
Well, having just finished Drowntown, I have to say it is a cracking read.

First, the art. Wow! It's up there with the best. I haven't seen very much of Jim's work at all, but it is special stuff. All the protagonists are drawn beautifully, the world of old London town has tons of character and it just adds so much depth to the story. Also, when I was talking to Robbie at the launch event, he was having a chuckle that Jim liked to put a few things into his art that aren't in the script. Little characters here and there. My favourite is the bog-eyed toad on the New Scotland Yard sign snatching a bug from the air, but there's loads to look for.

The story itself is intriguing, and travels back and forth in time as we find out more about why a down-and-out like Noiret has been hired by the mysterious and beautiful Alexandra Bastet. There's plenty of action, lots of witty dialogue and interesting characters. It kind of reminds me of a 1930's gangster movie, with the wise-cracking gangsters, molls and cops.

Amazon say the 2nd book is due in October. Can't wait!


Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fourth Faction
Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: Fourth Faction
by John Wagner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Dredd still cuts the mustard, 11 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book with a bit of trepidation; would older Dredd still be as good. You may not realise this, but in the comic 2000AD, Dredd ages in realtime - so he is over 35 years older than when he first appeared in Prog 2 back in 1977. He's been through a lot, and so would the more "modern" Dredd be as good as those early adventures.

Well, the short answer is, yes - he is still just as good. Dredd has been given a role on the Council of Judges, and the politics and paperwork bore him senseless. The street is where he wants to be. In this book, we see Dredd tracking an old adversary whilst trying to ensure election day passes of peacefully. At first, the stories seem to be unconnected, and this feeling is enhanced when you realise they come from both the comic 2000AD, and the Judge Dredd Megazine. However, the early stories in the book serve to introduce you to Dredd as he is today - useful if you haven't followed the comics, and if you are coming to this from the recent movie.

Wagner pens all the stories, and he is assisted with a variety of artists. Stand out for me is Ben Wilsher and Henry Flint. Don't get me wrong, I like MacNeil and Johnson as well, but Ben Wilsher's art in "The Skinning Room" amplifies the feeling of revulsion the reader feels for the main protagonist. And Henry Flint is one of my favourite comic artists anyway, and his work on "The Fourth Faction" is brilliant. Check out Zombo and Shakara for other Flint works of genius.

Doesn't matter where you have come from; new to comics, seen the Dredd movie and want more or remember Dredd from when you were a kid, pick this book up and you won't put it down until it's finished...


Iron Man: Industrial Revolution (Iron Man (Marvel Comics) (Quality Paper))
Iron Man: Industrial Revolution (Iron Man (Marvel Comics) (Quality Paper))
by Fred Van Lente
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, 29 April 2013
Tony Stark is homeless. Obadiah has ousted him from Stark Industries, and Tony has just about hit rock bottom. His friends, i.e. other super heroes, think it's best he finds his own way out. However, when Tony chooses a small community to help him launch his latest idea, little does he know he has stepped into the territory of a quite nasty gang of villains.

I really enjoyed this book. It puts Tony into a completely different situation, i.e. he is penniless, and this makes for a different spin on "billionaire industrialist". I'm not so sure about the artwork. It's OK, but it's not up there with my favourite artists. Kind of feels a little rushed.

Anyway, the story more than makes up for this and if you like the movies, then this puts Tony into an interesting new situation.


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